Applications being taken for septic repair funds

CARIBOU, Maine - Property owners having septic issues may be eligible for assistance in making needed repairs. Kathy McCarty spoke with Paul Bernier at the County Commissioners' Office and has the details.

A DEP grant, voted on as a referendum question last November, is making it possible for residents and business owners to make repairs to septic systems that are negatively affecting water sources.

"What it did is it gave $2 million dollars for the Small Community Grant Program, and that program is set up to repair malfunctioning or failing systems that affect water bodies, whether it be residential places or even commercial places."

There are failing systems everywhere, says Bernier, and unfortunately it's the property owner that has to deal with it. If it's leaching and gets to a ditch that leads to a waterway, that's what the program is meant to address.

"I take care of just the unorganized territory, but this program is available to all municipalities, so if there's anybody out there that has a failing system that might affect a nearby waterway or drainage ditch, I would recommend that they contact either The County if they're in the unorganized territory or their local municipality."

Time is limited to apply for the program.

"We need to submit - they call it application Number 1, which is due April 19th. That basically is just a listing of how many projects I might have or how many projects a municipality might have, just to get an idea of what we're looking at for funding."

Eligibility is based on income. Bernier says the $2 million dollars will be split over a two-year period. Anyone wanting more information can contact Bernier at the County Commissioner's Office in Caribou or reach out to their city or town office.